Combining letters gives more than the sum of their parts. Each preference modifies the others in patterned ways. When first learning type, most people find it easier to look at groups of 4 than at all 16 types. I ask those who have tentatively selected introversion to form a line and those who selected extraversion to form another line. Then I ask those who prefer intuition to move to the end of each line, thus forming 4 groups: IS, IN, ES, and EN. (Those who haven't decided may explore any group.) A group assignment makes most aware of the different energy in each of the 4 groups, which is confirmed by report-outs. A summary of the contributions from each group shows the need for all 4 perspectives. (By the way, in most cultures people who prefer Sensing greatly outnumber those who prefer Intuition)
Often the most difficult decision is Thinking or Feeling. An illuminating exercise, devised by Steve Myers, is to have participants write a brief response, which they can later read to the group, to 3 questions: When would you say you're sorry? What response would you expect? What do you most fear in a conflict? Before they read their response, I introduce the T-F dichotomy and report Stephen Covey's (1989) story of his wife buying only Frigidaire appliances. I ask a person who strongly prefers Thinking to read Covey's response:
This was a matter of considerable agitation to me. Fortunately the situation came up only when we purchased an appliance. But when it did come up, it was like a stimulus that triggered a hot button response. This single issue seemed to be symbolic of all irrational thinking, and it generated a whole range of negative feelings within me. I usually resorted to my dysfunctional private behavior.... What bothered me the most was not that she liked Frigidaire, but that she persisted in making what I considered utterly illogical and indefensible statements to defend Frigidaire, which had no basis in fact whatsoever. If she had only agreed that her response was irrational and purely emotional, I think I could have handled it. But her justification was upsetting (p. 312).
Covey waited until their 9 children were grown and he and his wife were on vacation to raise the issue with his wife. Only then did she become aware of the source of her loyalty to Frigidaire. When she was a child, her father discussed his worries and appreciation for Frigidaire, which had financed his inventory when he had financial difficulties during the depression.
Participants then form a circle according to their Thinking scores, from highest to lowest. Reading their written responses in this order enables everyone to hear the difference when crossing from a Thinking to Feeling preference. Those who prefer T tend to report they apologize when they’re wrong; they are concerned about escalation into violence. Those who prefer F tend to report they apologize when someone is hurt; they are concerned about loss of relationship.
To reinforce understanding of function differences, I form function pair groups—ST, SF, NF, and NT—and ask them to explore their response to a relevant question. The type chart helps explain divergent responses within a group, usually pointing up the importance of the dominant or the attitudes.
Because J-P distinctions are more nuanced when combined with I and E, I use Thomson s (1998) insights, which are summarized on the following handout and discussed in groups of IP, EP, EJ, IJ.
Js try to bring order to the outer world.
They envision goals in advance of experience.
Ps try to align with the inherent order in the world.They respond to what catches their attention.
Value staying on track
Focused on direction and boundary conditions,
Js seek order, standards that can be counted
on regardless of people's inner circumstances.
Value flexible adaptability
Drawn to novelty and variation, Ps seek the underlying principles that hold true despite diversity of outer circumstances.
E_Js: Depend on rational predictability for primary experience of life. Others may see their strong
investment in the public space as controlling, without awareness of their own and others’ needs.
Growing edge: bring immediate experience of a situation into dialog with judgment.
1. Stay open to new data; recognize impact of schedules and routines on self and others.
2. Make room for needs unrelated to goal at hand; stop seeing play as indulgence.
I_Js: Like EJs, they are most comfortable when they can establish predictable reference points in the
external world, but they don't take systems of thought for granted the way EJs do. By accumulating more info than a situation requires, they may overestimate others interest and over-meet expectations. Others may see them as losing track of time and purpose (tunnel vision)
Growing edge: apply extraverted judgment less to the systems of others and more to the data of their own mind to set priorities.
1. Limit and organize data of inner world; request specific guidelines.
2. Endure conflict between need to acquire more info and effort to say what s already known.
E_Ps: Depend on direct experience for primary understanding of life. Resistant to limiting their
options, they may let circumstances determine their decisions.
Growing edge: bring introverted judgment into dialog with accustomed approach to life.
1. Recognize limits before getting involved.
2. Stick with unrewarding chore ; see boredom and irritation as positive indicators of growth.
I_Ps: Like EPs, they understand outward reality by way of direct experience and may have a similar
resistance to limiting their options in areas that interest them. By focusing on the conflict between ideals and the actual potential, however, they may withdraw.
Growing edge: use extraverted perception more actively to find ways to express inner values/principles effectively.
1. Engage in experiences that have real meaning, either on job or as hobby.
2. Endure conflict between ideals and the actual potential of external circumstances; see the
danger of keeping too much of self in reserve.
It's important to clarify that when the dominant (BIG letter on type chart is a judging function (T or F), the type is called a judging type, regardless of the J - P preference. Similarly, when the dominant is a perceiving function (S or N), the type ia a perceiving type. J - P simply indicates the function used in the outer world.
Dominant judging types (IP and EJ) may be unaware that they re attaching a judgment to their perception and may not be able to take in all the data given by dominant perceiving types (IJ and EP). Overwhelmed by the info, they may believe it refutes their judgment. Similarly IJs and EPs may believe their perceptions are being refuted by the IPs and EJs.
Another source of conflict is the EJ’s strong investment in public space and the IP’s strong investment in values and ideas that are not part of negotiated public space. EJs may see the IP’s withdrawal as lack of commitment; IPs often see the EJ as not open to what the IP has to offer. In contrast to the IPs’ attempt to limit the impact of the outer world on themselves, the IJ tries to control the outer world and the EP tries to adapt.
Page 4, Presenting Type Dynamically >>>